Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Homemade Baguettes: Attempts 1 and 2

My current infatuation is attempting to make artisan bread, which all started with baguettes. Back in June Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny chose pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge. Swamped with moving I skipped it but the thought of making baguettes at home stayed with me and now I've made them twice using their suggested recipe.

Perfecting baguettes is a work in progress but even my imperfect results were pleasing with their crispy exterior and chewy interior with the requisite pockets from air bubbles. This is the perfect project for a long weekend. There's a 50/50 chance of happening again this weekend for me (SO excited to have the extra day off!) and I'd recommend that you try making baguettes too as the bread's delicious - though it goes away all too quickly.

While the recipe can't be halved I have discovered that you can bake the loaves about 5 minutes short of being done, let them cool to room temperature, wrap 'em up and freeze them to finish at a later date. It's the fast way to have baguettes handy and the amazing smell of homemade bread in a short amount of time. Otherwise plan to time out the 19 hour recipe very carefully. My only other note so far is that the second rise can take place for 4-6 hours in the fridge; for me this method resulted in the bread holding its shape better and it let me go out to play.

Almost the full Gossip Girl Season Premiere Spread -- I made everything but the cheese myself! The only thing missing is the improvised cake mentioned here (without instructions as it needs refining).

I suspect my serrated knife isn't as sharp as it needs to be since cutting the slits into the loaves 
distorts them even more than my initial handling!

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